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Q: Long-term care insurance ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Long-term care insurance
Category: Health
Asked by: apteryx-ga
List Price: $16.85
Posted: 31 Oct 2003 20:41 PST
Expires: 30 Nov 2003 20:41 PST
Question ID: 271609
What do I need to know about long-term care insurance?  What should I
bear in mind if shopping for it, and what should I ask?  What kind of
rates apply over age 50 (what's a reasonable range)?  And--is it the
same as long-term disability?  I am utterly ignorant in this area and
would rather not have to know anything about it, but there's a little
matter of wisdom and practicality to consider.  The purpose of asking
is to equip myself to shop for and purchase appropriate coverage for a
fair price.

I do not care to receive a huge barrage of information; I'd prefer
that a knowledgeable researcher do some judicious winnowing.  That's
why I am posting this question here in the first place.

Thank you,
Subject: Re: Long-term care insurance
Answered By: missy-ga on 01 Nov 2003 10:19 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi Apteryx!

Let's work a little backwards for a minute.

Long term disability insurance and long term care insurance are two
different things.  Long term disability insurance allows you to
continue to collect all or a substantial portion of your income when
you become disabled and cannot work.

Long term care insurace provides coverage for care expenses (such as
nursing or convalescent home care, or other forms of "custodial

"Long term disability, or LTD is an insurance plan intended to protect
individuals that suffer a disability from enduring large financial
loss because they have lost their ability to fulfill their job duties.
A long term disability policy allows affected individuals to continue
collecting their income for an extended period of time when they
cannot work due to the disability."

What is long term disability (LTD)?

"Long Term Care includes a wide range of medical and support services
for persons with degenerative diseases, a prolonged illness such as
cancer or a cognitive disorder. It's important to know that long term
care is not necessarily medical care but rather what is referred to as
"custodial care" or assistance with average daily living activities.
It's very difficult for people with the above illnesses to do the
things many of us take for granted every day and that is what Long
Term Care provides. It may be easiest to think of this as taking care
of a child who cannot take care of him or herself. In the case of Long
Term Care a trained professional provides these "custodial services".

What is Long Term Care?

Rates for long term care coverage vary wildly based on a number of
factors, including your age at the time of purchase, your health at
the time of purchase, and care options you choose.  How much coverage
you will need will depend on your current and projected future
financial situation:

"Standardized long-term care policies, such as can be found for
Medicare supplement insurance, do not exist in the long-term care
market. Comparing policies is extremely difficult because companies
are selling policies with many different combinations of benefits and

What coverage is available? estimates that there are more than 3000 different
premium levels for each person!  They suggest finding an agent you're
comfortable with, and using his expertise to select the plan that is
best for you.

Entry cost increases as you get older, so it's best to purchase your
coverage as soon as possible - a premium range of $55/year for bare
minimum coverage to $1300/year for generous coverage at age 40 jumps
to a range of $80/year - $1500/year at age 50:

"Most folks want to know right away, "How much does it cost?" And no
one can answer, because for every single person there can be over 3000
different premium levels, depending on how much and what kind of
coverage you want. The LTC agent is paid to help you make the best
coverage decisions for your individual situation. Find an agent you're
comfy with, and USE that agent to help you decide."

[ NOTE:  Premium range chart is on this page. ]

Premium Ranges for LTC Insurance Coverage

To find a guideline to suit your individual needs, you can customize a
plan and get a quote from the Federal Long Term Care Insurance
Program.  Use Calculator Two:

FLTCIP Premium Calculators

Some things to look at when choosing coverage to suit your needs:

-- Daily Benefit:   The maximum daily benefit for care received in a
Nursing Home or Alternative Care Facility. Typically, if the full
daily benefit is not needed, the difference will be carried over.

-- Length of Coverage:   The daily benefit times the length of
coverage to get the lifetime maximum dollar amount.

-- Elimination Period:    Synonymous with deductible period. The
amount in days that must be satisfied before the benefits are paid.
This is usually met once in the lifetime of a policy.

-- Home Health Benefit:  The maximum daily benefit for care received
in one's own home. This should cover any level of care needed.

-- Inflation Protection:   Automatically increases the daily benefit
each year on the anniversary of the policy. Designated to ensure the
policy one acquires retains its value over the years.

MAGA Ltd. - Long Term Care Quotes

The Consumer Law Page offers the following suggestions as well:

-- Always check with several companies and agents
-- Take your time and compare outlines of coverage
-- Understand the policies
-- Don't be misled by advertising
-- Don't buy multiple policies
-- Accurately disclosing your medical history is extremely important
-- Never pay the agent in cash
-- Write a check and make it payable to the insurance company.
-- Get the name, address, and telephone number of the agent and of the
-- If you don't receive your policy within 60 days, contact the
company or agent
-- Read the policy again and make sure it provides the coverage you
-- Reread the application you signed

This of course is just a summary.  You can find the complete article

Considerations when buying a policy

You may also find these articles helpful:

What do contracts provide?

Ripe with potential for fraud

These and other articles (which thoroughly address LTC) can be found

Avoiding Fraud When Buying Long-Term Care Insurance:
A Guide For Consumers And Their Families
Richard Alexander, Editor

I hope you find this helpful!  If I can be of further assistance,
please just ask for clarification.  I'll be glad to help.

-- Missy

Search terms:  [ "long term care" insurance ]
apteryx-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $3.15
Excellent work, Missy.  Yours is such a familiar presence here that I
was surprised to see this was actually the first time you've answered
a question of mine.

The Consumer Law Page link alone is worth the price of admission.  A
line like this goes a long way toward winning my confidence:  "Only a
fool would buy a policy to provide long-term care that does not
provide for inflation protection. Most people are fools and end up
with policies that provide benefits which are meaningless and in the
process have squandered years of premiums that have done nothing but
enhanced insurance company profits."  I'm sure what I invested in this
answer will pay off many times over.

Thank you--

Subject: Re: Long-term care insurance
From: missy-ga on 01 Nov 2003 22:16 PST
Hi Apteryx!

I haven't worked for you before?  How did we let that happen?  You're
around very nearly as much as I am!

I'm glad to know that my answer helped you.  Thank you so much!


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